Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Fox has initiated a third reform in her short tenure that will alleviate expenses in her office but which may cost local villages more money.
Fox announced two days ago that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will no longer prosecute defendants accused of driving on licenses that have been suspended or revoked for financial reasons. Some of those reasons may be the failure to pay child support, tollway tolls or parking tickets.
Fox’s office is planning to meet with local villages to inform them of the decision. The individual villages would be allowed, under Fox’s plan, to prosecute the cases with its own prosecutor, potentially creating more expenses for the local governments.
Fox’s office will continue to handle cases in which licenses were suspended due to Driving Under the Influence convictions or other serious offenses.
Fox was elected in November but has already instituted other reforms that may affect local communities. She recently announced that prosecutors will recommend that non-violent offenders be released without bond calling it an injustice that some defendants await trial from jail because they are poor.
She also instituted a policy to not approve felony charges for retail theft unless the defendant is accused of stealing $1000 of merchandise or has ten previous convictions. Prior to this change, defendants could be charged with a felony for merchandise worth $300.
Fox’s office told the Chicago Tribune that the most recent change is necessitated by a tight budget. Local municipalities may be facing a property tax freeze of two to four years based on legislation pending in Springfield.